Using the open web for due diligence

October 09, 2019 by Mark Dunn

Using the open web for your due diligence? Here’s 3 reasons not to risk it…

Many businesses are still relying on the open web to conduct critical research as part of their due diligence processes, leaving them exposed to risk. Whilst we are lucky enough to have a wealth of big digital data at our finger tips, web searches can leave blind spots and not always provide the most accurate picture.

1. You need the right information

Search engines choose what is shown on the first few pages of its top rankings based on algorithms which focus on search engine optimisation principles, so what they think is important could be very different to the kind of information you are looking for. Whereas, a dedicated due diligence platform is designed by its very nature to prioritise the content it shows you based on the level of risk it is perceiving within the content of the news story or article. What could appear on page 20 of internet search results, could be the number one article you need to read to get the full story on your potential new supplier or business partner.


Third party due diligence can also send researchers down a rabbit hole where there is just too much information, or even worse a wealth of misinformation and “fake news” that cannot be relied on. Accessing content from trustworthy verifiable sources means you can believe what you see.

2. You need the full story

The ‘Right to be Forgotten Legislation’ which the Russian Parliament passed in 2015 – similar to an EU legislation upheld by the EU’s highest court in 2014 – allows individuals to request that search engine providers like Google remove references to websites that hold inaccurate, irrelevant or outdated information about them. This could potentially hide important information about a person that you need to know, in order to protect your business.

Effective due diligence must come from reliable sources of archival data which, on the internet can be hidden by paywalls and even different privacy and data protection laws in specific countries.

3. You need an audit trail

Every business needs to ensure that their research follows a linear and verifiable evidence trail. Should you ever be audited this will provide all the information needed to prove you have performed adequate due diligence. There are many avenues and subscription services out there to help – it is crucial that secondary information resources are used to supplement open web research to ensure critical information has not been missed.

So, time to revisit your due diligence processes?

If you’re not already taking extra steps beyond open web research to conduct third-party checks, now is the time to do so. With new regulations coming into force early next year, and businesses regularly getting fined for not complying with current regulations now is the time.

Lexis Diligence

Lexis Diligence is our flagship compliance solution, used the world over - from Fortune 100 global firms to smaller organisations. It brings together news, company financial data, legal information and critical sanctions, watchlists and PEPs data all in one place. The result? Efficient person and company searches and detailed due diligence reports to help mitigate third-party risk.

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